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Nathu-la permit stopped again

Gangtok, Aug. 3: The permits to visit popular tourists destinations like Changu Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathu-la have been halted for another two weeks after the Sikkim tourism department and the Border Roads Organisation carried out a joint inspection of the landslide-hit JN Road yesterday.

“Since the safety of tourists is of primary importance, the department of tourism and civil aviation along with the stakeholders and other associations concerned have decided to defer issuing permits to tourists visiting Nathu-la,” said R.Telang, the secretary of the tourism and civil aviation department.

JN Road in Gangtok is the main road link to the Nathu-la border pass.

Indian traders and the army also use the pass. The tourism department and the check post police had stopped issuing the travel permits from June 13 after several landslides on JN Road.

“Although the road is open to the local people, it is not advisable to run heavy vehicles on it. JN Road is still very unsafe. There are several stretches with boulders hanging precariously above them,” added Telang.

He said the tourism department would issue the permit only 15 days after studying the condition of the road.

The tourism department has also appealed to the tourism stakeholders to co-operate till further information is given.

“We are putting in our best to restore the road before the tourist season starts in September,” said a BRO source.

On average during the peak season, more than 300 vehicles carrying tourists ply JN Road.